Alumni Spotlight

Remembering FIU super fan Dennis Castro ’77, the ‘Paw Claw Guy’

Dennis Castro, pictured here wearing yellow, with his homemade Panther paw sign

The FIU Alumni Association was deeply saddened to learn of the loss of FIU alumnus Dennis M. Castro ’77, on September 14, 2020.

A longtime Panther super fan, FIU Football season ticket holder and a graduate of one of the first classes of the College of Engineering & Computing, Dennis was known affectionately as the ‘Paw Claw Guy’ for the homemade Panther paw sign he waved at our football games.

He could always be found cheering on our Panthers in the field and rallying fans in the stands. He was also a proud parent of three FIU Panthers: Yanell I. Castro ’04, Yaisel L. Castro ’04 and Adriel M. Castro ’06.

Castro’s children agree he loved his family and FIU fiercely. Said Yanell, “I will never forget our times tailgating and cheering for our FIU Golden Panthers! You were passionate, dedicated and had an enormous heart. Not one person would describe you differently. Our memories will live on forever and ever in my heart.”

Yaisel added, “Your passion, love, support and guidance toward many things amongst FIU have influenced me beyond measure. I am a strong girl because of you! I love you with all my heart, and you will live on within me for eternity. God bless your spirit!”

Adriel said their father was a “one-of-a-kind, special man.”

“You had a golden heart which impacted many. Your passion, love and life lessons leave behind a beautiful legacy. You loved your family and FIU deeply. We are going to miss you dearly. There is no way of getting around that,” Adriel said. “However, we know you are shining down on us and will always be with us. Your legacy lives on through your children, grandchildren and the FIU family.”

Roberto Valcarce ’89, a graduate of the College of Business and fellow season ticket holder, shared a memory of his longtime friend: “I remember meeting Dennis while I was still a student at FIU in the mid-late 80s. He would attend games with his three little kids. They were – and are – always involved in FIU Athletics, as they were groomed by their father with his passion and love for FIU. From there, an acquaintance became a friend for many, many years. A great overall guy. I will miss him.”


Dennis Castro, pictured center wearing blue plaid, with fellow FIU fans at the 2017 Gasparilla Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida

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